Coping Resources for Stress and Assertiveness Training, Previous Nursing Experience, Race, and Gender Among Traditional and Non-Traditional Associate Degree Nursing Students

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

John R. Rachal

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research


In the stressful climate of nursing education and nursing practice, resources for coping with stress are vital to the individual involved. Methods to identify and improve coping skills are the focus of this study. The purpose of this study was to investigate the difference in coping resources for stress of first semester nursing students receiving assertiveness training and those not receiving training. Independent variables were student type (traditional or non-traditional), previous nursing experience, race, and gender. The criterion variable, coping resources for stress, was measured by the instrument Coping Resources Inventory for Stress (CRIS) (Curlette, et al., 1988). Seven subscales of CRIS were also utilized: Self Directedness, Confidence, Social Support, Financial Freedom, Physical Health, Stress Monitoring, and Tension Control. During the Fall of 1991, 100 subjects, consisting of 75 non-traditional and 25 traditional students, were involved in this study. Forty-five subjects received assertiveness training prior to the first day of the nursing courses. The CRIS was administered to all subjects at the beginning of the first day of the first nursing course. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed group identification (control vs. experimental) was predictive of stress monitoring. The students who received assertiveness training scored higher on stress monitoring. No significant difference was found between group identification and the global coping resources for stress or any of the other six subscales. Several significant independent effects were noted. Student type was predictive of Confidence and Stress Monitoring. Non-traditional students scored higher on stress monitoring and confidence. Race was predictive of Financial Freedom and Social Support. Non-white students reported lower levels of financial freedom and social support. Recommendations for further research are presented.